Chapter 6 Summary

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Anne finds life at Uppercross with her sister Mary and the Musgroves to be quite different from what her life had been at Kellynch. Everything from conversations and opinions to daily chores at Uppercross seem distinctive. Now that Anne has stepped out of her familiar circle and crossed into the lives of others, she sees life through a completely new perspective. She feels fortunate for the experience and wishes her father and sisters (as well as the Musgroves) could have similar experiences. But given that the occurrence is only hers, she settles in to study it and learn from it.

Staying with her sister is not hard to adjust to. Anne finds that Mary is more open to her than Elizabeth is, that Charles is friendly with her, and that Mary’s children enjoy her company—usually more so than they do their mother’s. She has much to amuse her and hold her interest.

Over the weeks, Anne has ample opportunities to observe Charles and finds she has to agree with Lady Russell’s assessment that Charles would probably have been much more improved if Anne, or someone like her, had married him rather than Mary. Anne would have encouraged the development of his ambition and character. He would have become more useful, more rational and elegant. He would have read more and had more zeal in life; he would not waste so much of his time in the sport of hunting. Although Mary does not promote Charles’s betterment, as she is mostly lost in her own complaints, Mary and Charles do have the appearance of being a satisfactory couple. They have their arguments but none seem to go deeply.

Their children are at times unruly, and Charles appears to be the better parent in disciplining them. One of Charles’s few complaints is that he could manage his sons better without Mary’s interference. Mary, on the other hand, criticizes her husband for spoiling their sons.

For Anne, one of the more difficult tasks of staying at Uppercross is listening to everyone’s gossip, which usually includes suggestions Anne should pass on to different members of the Musgrove family. She is taken into their confidence and expected to act on everyone’s requests. For example, Mary complains about sending her sons to her mother-in-law. Mary is under the impression that the boys’ grandmother requires seeing them on a frequent basis, but when the boys are at the main house, the elder Mrs. Musgrove feeds them too many sweets in her attempt to befriend them. The mother-in-law’s version of events is quite different. Mrs. Musgrove tells Anne that Mary sends the boys to the main house too often without her requesting their presence. The children are so rowdy she resorts to feeding them cakes and cookies to manage them so she can have some peace.

Other complaints Anne hears involve Mary’s feeling that the Musgrove servants take advantage of their employers. Charles asks Anne to try to get Mary to stop feigning illnesses when she is perfectly well. The Musgrove sisters want Anne to tell Mary to stop putting on airs when their parents invite outside guests to the family home.

In the meantime, the Crofts have moved into Kellynch and eventually come to Uppercross to visit Mary and Anne. Both the Admiral and Mrs. Croft are very friendly, and Anne is particularly attracted to the wife. This might be because she is Captain Wentworth’s sister, but Mrs. Croft has other qualities Anne admires. For instance, Mrs. Croft is genuine. Her manners are open, as if she has no distrust of herself.

While the Crofts are visiting, Anne discovers that Captain Wentworth is expected to be at Kellynch very soon. At the mention of him, Anne becomes agitated. She later reprimands herself and commits to strengthen her composure so the man will no longer affect her. It has been seven years since she last saw him. He will be changed. He might have even forgotten her. She believes she may have changed, too.

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